Insights January 2014

Breakfast with the Chiefs Review - Patient-centred care: Only words if patients are left in the dark

Matthew Morgan

The data - information - knowledge - wisdom hierarchy. ( is a foundational informatics paradigm.   Mastery of this paradigm was on full display at the first Breakfast with the Chiefs of 2014. Canada's electronic health record (EHR) leaders, Richard Alvarez and Jennifer Zelmer of Canada Health Infoway provided a look back and a look forward in our national pursuit of patient centered care.

Over the past 10 years CHI has navigated our country towards an essential destination, a sustainable healthcare system, EHR enabled.  There will always be more to do in the in the use of EHRs in the conversion of data to powerful information, the first leg of the DIKW journey.  However, enormous progress has been made in Canada because of the leadership of Richard, Jennifer, the Infoway team and the partnerships they have created and nurtured in every region of our country.   Today, more Canadian physicians and health care teams are using EHRs, more integrated clinical data is available at the point of care to assist in decision making and the delivery of safe - high quality - affordable care, more of our healthcare is EHR enabled and more benefits are being realized.  There is no turning back!

And because of their informed and knowledgeable leadership, Richard and Jennifer made the wise decision to engage patients and families in our national pursuit of EHR enabled sustainable health care.  After a pan-Canadian consultation process, five patient centric opportunities for action emerged: 

  • Bring care closer to home
  • Provide easier access
  • Support new models of care
  • Improve patient safety
  • Enable a high-performing health system

These five opportunities should resonate with all of us, simply put, they make sense.  They are not buzz words but rather worthy pursuits that can be realized through EHR enablement delivered locally and sponsored by regional, provincial and national leaders.   I would encourage all of us to take the time to read this six page strategic document (see attached pdf) and if it resonates with you, advocate for its success and facilitate crucial conversations with your colleagues, patients, families and each other.  After all by investing in conversation and dialogue perhaps, just perhaps, we can exceed our wildest expectations in EHR enablement and collectively master the DIKW paradigm in support of sustainable healthcare.

About the Author(s)

Matthew Morgan MD, MSc, FRCP(C), FACP Vice President, Patient Experience and Outcomes, Mount Sinai Hospital


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